Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Jewish People Are Keepers of Palestine Gates, Declares New National Chairman of U. P. A.

October 11, 1926
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

“The economic possibilities of Palestine have graduated from the plane of discussion. They have become a matter of established fact.”

This assertion was made by Judge William M. Lewis of Philadelphia in the first statement issued by him since he was elected recently national chairman of the United Palestine Appeal, which will conduct a drive of seven and a half million dollars during the coming year.

Pointing to the economic possibilities of Palestine today and referring to the outlook for the United Palestine Appeal in American Jewry, Judge Lewis called upon the Jews of America to cooperate with him in his leadership of the forthcoming campaign. His statement reads:

“In the rebuilding of the Jewish National Home, the Jews of America have assumed an obligation for which they will in time be called upon to answer at the bar of history. A terrible need, crying aloud for solution, has been coupled with a glorious opportunity calling for realization: hundreds of thousands of homeless and hopeless Jews in the still benighted land of Eastern Europe on the one hand, and Palestine, wide open for Jewish immigration and development, on the other.

“Both the need and the opportunity are clear. And I believe it is time to cease complaining of restrictive immigration regulations in Palestine. However it may be with other lands, when it comes to Palestine, we, the Jewish people are the keepers of the gate. It is not regulations that restrict, it is economic opportunities. Let us enlarge these opportunities and the regulations will vanish.

“The economic possibilities of Palestine have graduated from the plane of discussion. They have become a matter of established fact. Numerous branches of agriculture–fruit raising, dairying, vegetable-growing, tobacco culture–have been proven successful. A growing population of 30,000 is living on the soil attached to it not alone with the bonds of economic interest, but with a passionate love that centuries of separation have only served to deepen. Industry, properly conducted and financed, has also proven successful. It is but necessary to point to that group of industrial establishments — the Nesher Cement Factory, the Shemen Oil Works, the Palestine Flour Mills, the Palestine Salt Works–that cluster around Haifa, the city destined to become the leading port of the Near East. It is but necessary to see the electric power plants of the Ruttenberg Concession multiplying in the country. And with agriculture and industry thriving and expanding, commerce will take care of itself.

“The Jews are too experienced and intelligent a people to think that this expansion can take place without the assistance of outside capital. We want the land to flow again with milk and honey. But it has lain too long neglected and waste. It cannot, like the Phoenix, spring suddenly to new life out of its ashes. It is true that Palestine is the classic land of miracles. The miracle that is now being enacted in it is a miracle of labor and love. Through our labor and devotion in this country, we, the Jews of America, are helping in the achievement of the miracle.

“The program for the year’s work in Palestine has been announced. It is a simple and easily understood program. It calls for a large increase in land purchased by the Jewish National Fund, the consolidation and expansion of our agricultural colonization activities, provision for a larger immigration and maintenance and extension of the educational system, all of this under the conduct of the Keren Hayesod. Then there is the maintenance and extension of the hospitals and other health service by Hadassah, the encouragement of industry through credit facilities, participation in the Ruttenberg Concession, the Hebrew University and many other activities. It is a program that speaks clearly in terms of statesmanship and for an eventual Jewish commonwealth. It is a program that has been estimated to require for the year the sum of $10,000.000. And of this sum, the United Palestine Appeal asks the Jews of America to furnish $7,500,000.

“Is it too much to ask of the Jews of America? Considered in the light of the great purpose, that sum is little enough. It is certainly within the means of the Jews of America. It is also, and the past year has proven it, not beyond their generosity and comprehension of the great purpose.

“In taking up the burden of the office of chairman of the United Palestine Appeal, and on the eve of the intensive effort that is about to be launched all over the country, I appeal for the generous cooperation of all the Jews of America.”

An increase over last year of $250,000 in the remittances this year of the American branch of the Keren Hayesod to Palestine is reported by Morris Rothenberg, Chairman of the National Board of Directors of the Keren Hayesod, in a statement issued by him last week. The remittances during the year, ending September last, amounted to $1,500,000 representing an increase of $250,000 over and above the commitments of the American Keren Hayesod to the Palestine Zionist Executive.

The increase this year, Mr. Rothenberg states, was made possible by the success of the United Palestine Appeal of which the Keren Hayesod was the principal constituent, the others being the Jewish National Fund, the Hadassah Medical Organization, the Hebrew University Fund and the Mizrachi, each of whom made their own remittances to Palestine for their special activities out of the proceeds of the Appeal.

Recommended from JTA